Sunday, September 28, 2008

Why Does It Matter What I Believe about the End?

During my time here in seminary, several areas of my theology have taken a more defined shape, some have just started to form, and others have actually changed. One area that has taken on more definition is that of eschatology (what I believe about the Kingdom of God, Israel, end-times prophecy, etc.). A good portion of the theological views I have now tend to be in conflict with most of the people I grew up with in church and have fellowshipped with over my adult years. I've told some friends that this unfortunately complicates where I will be able to minister when we are done with seminary. Some have asked me why my views of eschalology, for example, would really matter that much.

There are two reasons why this complicates things--one pragmatic and the other philosophical. First, while it is possible to have close church fellowship with brothers who differ on views about the place of Israel, for example, it can be very difficult to have differing views among the same church staff. Second, I have typically responded to people that your view on eschatology affects your life dramatically because it helps you think beyond the here and now and also about the here and now since it places your story somewhere within the Grand Story. In other words, it shapes your view of life, why you think you're here, how to think when bad things happen, and where this is all going. On Thursday in chapel, Dr. Mohler put it very succinctly: "Eschatology frames the reality of our life."

So why does it matter? Because it will shape my counseling, preaching, teaching, husbanding, parenting, and relating.

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